When I was ready to buy my first house, I didn’t want to sign a full year’s lease on my apartment. I was divorced at the time, so my five-year-old son KC and I moved back home with my mom until I could find a house. I love my mom. And she loves me! But it quickly became apparent that as two grown azz women, we weren’t going to survive living under the same roof for long. First, KC’s pet bunny kept chewing up her electrical cords and wires nonstop. Second, Mom loved a clean house but wouldn’t let me use my cleaning service, which meant the expectation was that I personally was going to be cleaning, scrubbing floors, and whatnot. Umm, yeah, this wasn’t going to work! We were stressing each other out. As soon as I found a house, KC and I moved. A full half-mile away! And we had the best of both worlds. We were still close but not live-in close.
KC is twenty-one now and will be graduating from college soon. He and I, just like my mom and I, are thisclose. But I have to wonder if we could handle living under the same roof again, 24/7. Are boys easier to live with than girls once they’re adults? My girlfriend and her mother live together. They’ve been together for some time. They get along, they have fun, they’re more like sisters than mother and daughter. Fab. It works for them. So clearly, there’s no normal norm.
When we live together as adults, it’s hard for the grown azz kid to not want to be an adult, too, and frankly, you still see them as that amazing little baby who came into your life. This creates all kinda conflict. Words like “This is MY house” start flying outta your mouth before you can catch yourself. And what about when the parent goes to live with her kid? Same thing. If you’re in this situation, how can you make sure everything stays hunky dory?
- Be sure to do your share of chores (cleaning, cooking, mowing the lawn) … just do it! You shouldn’t have to be ASKED. You live there. You see things that need to be done. You know everybody is busy. Be like Nike and Just Do It. And, parents, if like me with my situation when I lived with my mom if you have a kid willing to pay to get the same service done, LET THEM! Who cares who does the work, as long as it’s done?
- Set and keep personal space. You’ll need it for your sanity as will they. Think of yourselves as roommates, rather than parent/kid. You’ll keep boundaries much easier this way. If things get heated, and they will, there’s nothing wrong with reminding one another that you are who you are.
- If the “kid” is over twenty-one, technically they are an adult. But they lose adult points if they aren’t helping to pay rent, any of the bills, or otherwise contributing to the household. Age alone doesn’t qualify you as an adult when you’re living under someone else’s roof. For those who are contributing, their role as an adult needs to be honored.
- Be aware of your personal lifestyles. You might like kale and poached eggs, and they may like KFC. You’ve gotta respect habits and lifestyles even when they don’t jive with your own.
- Which brings me to the most important tip of all. Respect one another. Mutual respect will go far in keeping a sanctimonious and loving home that way.
All I can say is “Good luck!” And I’ll keep you posted on what happens if KC comes back to the home nest to roost.